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1. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
James R. Lewis Introduction
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2. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Matthew Rowley What Causes Religious Violence?: Three Hundred Claimed Contributing Causes
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Violence in the name of God is a complex phenomenon and oversimplification further jeopardizes peace because it obscures many of the causal factors. This paper categorizes three hundred scholarly claimed causes of religious violence and then offers thirteen guidelines for navigating the complicated relationship between religion and violence. Understanding this complexity is an important step towards diagnosing the problem and moving towards reconciliation.
3. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Laerke Recht Symbolic Order: Liminality and Simulation in Human Sacrifice in the Bronze-Age Aegean and Near East
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This paper examines engagement with live and dead human bodies through rituals involving human sacrifice in the ancient Aegean and Near East. After a review of the most significant archaeological contexts, properties of liminality and the manipulation of human remains for various types of staging are discussed.
4. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Kamalroop Singh Save Our Girls: The Prevention of Female Foeticide in the Asian Community
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An Oxford University study by Dubuc has found that an increasing number of Indian women in the UK are aborting their female foetuses, in order to have more boys. Research has found that over 1500 girls have ‘gone missing’ from birth statistics in England and Wales since the 1990s. The research concluded that the proportion of boys over girls has increased abnormally over time. This abnormal growth has been described as a result of ‘Sex Selective Abortion.’ This is only preliminary research and health experts consider the problem to be much larger. The reasons for aborting female foetuses are varied, but generally some families still follow the dowry system while others favour males to carry on the family name, and others see women as inferior. A number of Health authorities in the UK refuse to tell the sex of an unborn child, so some British Indian women travel to India to abort female foetuses. There is a lack of awareness about this unethical practice in the UK, and this could also be a large contributing factor. My paper will explore what the Sikh tradition has said about this practice, in particular from Sikh scripture and the rahitnāme from around the eighteenth century.
5. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Birgit Pfeifer, Ruard R. Ganzevoort The Implicit Religion of School Shootings: Existential Concerns of Perpetrators Prior to Their Crime
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The present paper explores which existential concerns emerge in autobiographical documents of school shooters. The perpetrators in this study discuss their hatred of humanity and existential loneliness in their video manifestos, suicide letters, or diary entries. These expressions—called leaking—contain traces of implicit religion which help us to understand strong layers of meaning in this seemingly irrational behavior. The study involves a narrative analysis of the expressions of school shooters to shed more light on the existential dimension of their motives. We discuss the relation between implicit religion and school shootings, with particular attention to religious terminology in shooters’ language.
6. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Davis Brown The Permissive Nature of the Islamic War Ethic
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The Islamic war ethic of today is a tension between the ethic of necessary (even required) self-defense and something more militaristic. The Islamic war ethic is fundamentally permissive in two ways. First, the causes for self-defense are construed more broadly than causes for defense in other religious war ethics or in secular jus ad bellum. Second, classical Islam recognizes a prerogative of offensive war to eradicate polytheism and secure Islamic dominion. Empirical evidence suggests that this permissive war ethic influences the preferences of Muslim states for war or peace. Compared to non-Muslim states, and especially to Christian states, Muslim states have a higher propensity to initiate armed conflicts with other states.
book reviews
7. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Tim Rackett Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand. By Michael K. Jerryson
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8. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Murray Haar The Peace and Violence of Judaism: From the Bible to Modern Zionism. By Robert Eisen
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9. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Laura Randall In Kashmir: Gender, Militarization and the Modern Nation-State. By Seema Kazi
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10. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Margo Kitts, Michael Jerryson Special Issue: Invoking Religion in Violent Acts and Rhetoric
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Contemporary discussions of the link between religion and violence are plagued by the contested nature of the terms. This essay summarizes some problems of definition and scope for those terms, and then introduces the four studies and postscript that follow. The four studies theorize and contextualize violent acts and religious rhetoric in today’s India and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the 1920s United States, and in fifteenth century Morocco. The postscript identifies a theme common to the four essays, which is the capacity of violent rhetoric and acts to empower religious pundits in the public sphere.
11. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Mackenzie Brown, Nupur Agrawal The Rape that Woke Up India: Hindu Imagination and the Rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey
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This essay was inspired by the gang-rape of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey in Delhi, India, on December 16, 2012. Thirteen days later she died in a Singapore hospital from injuries caused by insertion of an iron rod by her six attackers. The authors first analyze the remarks of politicians and religious leaders that invoked religious- nationalist ideals to diminish the responsibility of the attackers, to exonerate traditional Hindu ways of life, and to blame the victim. The essay next examines cultural and religious contexts of gang-rape, in particular, the positive and negative images of women in traditional Hindu mythologies and scriptures.Theories about why some men rape and why some rapists mutilate the genitalia of their victims are considered. The essay includes results of interviews and surveys of Indians in India carried out during the summer of 2013. Questions focused on religious issues such as the extent to which the mentality that women transgressing traditional limits are responsible for what happens to them fosters a rape-tolerant atmosphere. The authors conclude that parts of the sacredtradition can be useful for enhancing the status and safety of women in India today, while other, clearly misogynistic parts must be recognized, critiqued, and rejected.
12. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Torang Asadi The Mai-Mai Rape: Female Bodies and Collective Identities at War in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
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The Mai-Mai soldiers comprise a rebel militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who believe that applying magical potions to their bodies and wearing leaves around their heads makes them invisible. Although they previously believed sex would diminish their magical powers, in 2002 they began to claim sexual intercourse strengthens the magic. With this theological change, they began to rape both foreign and Congolese women ritualistically and violently, making the rapes much more than weapons of war. The Mai-Mai’s alienation from and discontent with society has created a power struggle between two sets of collective identities (Mai-Mai vs. un-Mai-Mai) that are at odds over authority, legitimacy, and resources. This article focuses on how both religion and violence have been sharpened in the Mai-Mai’s collective struggles against hegemonic entities, while considering the limitations created by the lack of ethnographic research. This article proposes that violence should not be studied in terms of seemingly static and essentialized religion through which the perpetrators viewthe world, but in terms of socio-political and religious disenchantments that herald theological changes and innovations to seemingly established religions in each specific case.
13. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Leif C. Tornquist 'This Mighty Struggle for Life': Modernist Protestant Ministers, Biopolitical Violence, and Negative Eugenics in the 1920s United States
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Over sixty thousand Americans were sterilized in states that enacted sterilization laws during the first four decades of the twentieth century. American eugenicists supported these laws as part of a negative eugenics crusade to purify the white racial body. Many modernist Protestant ministers also publicly advocated these laws, endorsing them as an effective means for eliminating white degeneracy, enhancing the presence of God in the life of the race, and advancing God’s kingdom on earth. Drawing from pro-eugenic sermons and other writings by modernist ministers, this essay explores the role that modernist Protestantism played in publicly sanctifying the biopolitical violence of sterilization and in shaping a popular religious discourse that bolstered negative eugenic initiatives.The first section of the essay broadly contextualizes modernist Protestantism as an evolutionary discourse of Christian civilization. The second sketches the development of modernist evolutionary theologies during the nineteenth century. The third focuses on Protestant ministerial support for negative eugenics during the 1920s, demonstrating how modernists popularized sterilization as part of an evolutionary struggle against degeneracy and for the kingdom of God. The essay concludes by arguing that modernist Protestantism was an important religious discourse through which negative eugenic thought and practice found popular expression.
14. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Manuela Ceballos Sufi Lovers as Sufi Fighters: Militant Piety in Muhammad ibn Yaggabsh al-Tāzī’s Book of Jihād
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Even though Sufism (Islamic mysticism) is often characterized in Western scholarship and discourse as an esoteric, tolerant, non-violent dimension of Islam, historically some Sufis have practiced and justified violence as an ethical form of struggle in the world. This essay analyzes the representations of violence in the fifteenth-century Book of Jihād by the Moroccan Sufi Muḥammad ibn Yaggabsh al-Tāzī (d. 1505), which advocates defensive jihād against Portuguese imperial expansion in Morocco. In particular, it focuses on the way in which al-Tāzī’s text stages violence for a popular audience while it simultaneously promotescommunal transformation through a rhetoric of love, where righteous fighters become God’s lovers. Furthermore, the essay examines the role of Jesus as a defender of the Muslim community in the Book of Jihād, and explores the physical, legal, and religious boundaries that al-Tāzī’s portrayals of violence help cross and inscribe. Finally, this article reflects on the implications of the broader tradition of politically engaged Sufism upon the aforementioned reductionistportrayals of Sufis as fundamentally opposed to violence.
15. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Mark Juergensmeyer Postscript: Symbolic Empowerment of Religious Violence
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This summary essay looks at what the essays in this special issue have in common. It concludes that these are all instances of what might be called symbolic empowerment related to religious violence. Though the violence is real enough in each of these cases, the role of religion in relation to it is often indirect. These are cases not only where religion justifies violence but also where violence empowers religion. The use of religious language, symbols, and authority to justify violent acts gives religious spokespersons an aura of authority that gives them a symbolical power.
16. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
James R. Lewis Editor’s Introduction
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17. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Marco Ceccarelli Catholic Thought as Soft-Counterterrorism: La Civiltà Cattolica on non-Violent Solutions to Islamic Terrorism
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This article analyses a particular kind of Catholic scholarship, that of the Jesuit Journal La Civiltà Cattolica, and its discourse on Islamic terrorism in the twenty-first century. While numerous secular political studies have been published on Islamic terrorism since the attacks of 9/11, little attention has been paid to the scholarly debate that has emerged among Catholic intellectuals on this issue. The examination focuses on the works of three La Civiltà Cattolica writers,namely Edomnd Farahian S.J., Giovanni Sale S.J. and Enrico Cattaneo S.J. as well as the discourse of prominent Catholic religious leaders, including the newly elected Pope Francis. The non-violent strategy for countering Islamic terrorism proposed by the contemporary Catholic Church, and echoed by the Jesuits, is framed as a new “soft-counterterrorism” approach based on interreligious dialogue and the creation of bonds of friendship. The article also considers the debate currently taking place among religious scholars on the Catholic Church’s position towards Islam as well as new insights into the need for the West torediscover its Christian roots before engaging with Islam.
18. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Ryan J. Cook Absence of Evidence: How Chen Tao Became a “Suicide Cult”
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For new religious movements, is the absence of evidence of the potential for violence ever sufficient evidence of its absence? This article examines the process through which Chen Tao was inaccurately portrayed as potentially suicidal by the news media. After a review of the group’s cosmology and migration fromTaiwan to the United States, it describes the group’s interactions with news media personnel at several key points between the mid-1990s and the 2010s. The article then marshals the scholarship treating minority religions, inwardly-directed violence, and the media to understand why this happened to Chen Tao. From early on, journalists consistently wove rumors about and interpretations of group members’ acts and statements into a narrative of risk that, while unsupported by evidence, resonated with a pre-existing “suicide cult” topos in reporting.
19. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Benson Ohihon Igboin Boko Haram Radicalism and National Insecurity: Beyond Normal Politics
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The main focus of this paper is to interrogate the security challenges that the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram has posed to the Nigerian nation, and how the government has responded to these challenges. Although many positions have been articulated with regard to how best to tackle the insurgency, the thrust ofthis article, however, is to argue that instead of the “normal politics” of security, the government needs to invoke the doctrine of “emergency politics,” which involves the full concentration of state apparatuses in order to restore peace and order. It is the contention of this article that it is only after this measure has beentaken that the fundamental causes can be adequately addressed, through a well-focused program of re-absorption.
20. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Maria Leppäkari Apocalyptic Management By Monte Kim Miller
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As the turn of the millennium approached, the year 1999 turning into 2000, several religious enthusiasts popped up in Jerusalem and were frequently noted in the daily press. Among these were, to mention a few, Brother David from the House of Prayer congregation, Brother Salomon from the Temple Group and members of Monte Kim Miller’s Concerned Christians, an American, Denver-based congregation (not to be confused with the anti-Mormon group that bears the same name but has no relationship to Monte Kim Miller). According to news reports, members of Miller’s group were believed to have in mind committingmass suicide in the streets of Jerusalem; as well as plans to provoke bloodshed by attacking policemen in Jerusalem and to plot attacks in the Old City. Members of the group were also accused of plotting violent acts near religious centers, the Temple Mount being one possible location. As a result, the group’s members were arrested and deported from Israel.